What‘s Happening at Walker

Golden Apple Teacher Awards | Sponsored by Better Living Building Supply

Nominate a Teacher for the Golden Apple Awards!

Golden Apple Teacher Awards Logo

Better Living Building Supply & Cabinetry is sponsoring the 16th Annual Golden Apple Awards for outstanding teachers in our community’s school systems.

Applications and information are available here.  Please return all forms to your principal by Thursday, February 2, 2017.


About the Golden Apple Award

The Golden Apple Award is a means of selecting and honoring some of the most outstanding teachers in our community.  One winner will be selected from each school. Award recipients receive a Golden Apple, as well as gift certificates from local businesses. As a “Golden Apple” teacher, each recipient is eligible to receive a $1,000 Golden Apple Grant. Grants are awarded to eight candidates: three elementary, two middle, and two high school candidates, and one from the schools that are members of the VAIS. The grant award is used for classroom materials or to support the recipient’s continued professional development.


Candidates are teachers at any level (pre-school through grade 12) and in any discipline. Candidates for this award have demonstrated excellence in teaching and involvement in the community outside the school.

Golden Apple Award recipients who received this award within the past three years are not eligible for nomination.

Award Ceremony

Golden Apple Award recipients are invited to a reception in their honor on Thursday, May 11, 2017, in Lane Auditorium at the County Office Building on McIntire Road. Golden Apple grant recipients will be selected and announced at the reception.

Colonial Day at Walker Shcool

December 2016 Buford/Walker Highlights

Marco Lopez with his award-winning art
Marco Lopez with his award-winning art.

Eighth-grader Marco Lopez won the middle-school category of the Charlottesville Public Works’ “Imagine a Day without Water” art contest. Congratulations!

Seventh-graders were able to enjoy a performance “Black Angels Over Tuskegee” at the Paramount Theatre, telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Buford students volunteering at Johnson Elementary
Volunteering at Johnson Elementary.

The waiting list is long for Buford students who want to spend their lunch going to neighboring Johnson Elementary to help young friends read. The weekly program is so popular that a once-per-quarter limit has been implemented for Buford students.

Buford students explored a wide variety of futures on career day, with visits from more than 20 professionals ranging from video game programmer, radio talk host, police officer, lawyers, real estate agent, human resource officer, public relations staffer, UVA softball coach, former pro athlete, ACAC fitness trainer, and even a UVA scientist who brought in some human brains!  Thanks to all who offered their time.

Career day at Buford
Career day at Buford — games, brains, and more!
Students meeting with military re-enactors on Veterans Day
Learning about history on Veterans Day.

Buford students celebrated Veterans Day three ways. Civics students attend Veterans’ Day events at the Jefferson School African American History Center.  The school held a program with area vets who shared their stories of military service. And the band performed in the celebrations at Highland.

The National Junior Honor Society was able to attend the Charlottesville TedEx program in November, exploring the “Power of One,” which happens to be the Buford group’s theme, as well.  How will you be the one to stand up for others?

Walker and Buford students in the schools’ Stage Left Theatre are preparing for their family-friendly winter production of Beauty & the Beast, which has been rescheduled for January 24 at 6:30pm at Walker.  Break a leg!

Colonial Day at Walker Shcool
Colonial Day at Walker School.

History students in sixth grade enjoyed a colonial market activity.  As seen in the photo, Connecticut offered maple syrup, apple cider, and smiles.

Walker teachers prove that it’s not all-work-and-no-play. Prior to the Thanksgiving Break, they offered a staff talent show for students, ranging from music to comedy. Outside, the students showed their own talents by conquering some obstacle course-like challenges set up by the Charlottesville Police Department.

Peace Squad teaching the power of "One"
Peace Squad teaching the power of “One.”

The Walker Peace Squad hit the road to all six Charlottesville elementary schools, presenting their own adaptation of the award-winning picture book One.  After their play, Walker students led their elementary friends in a discussion of the book and ways to stand up for kindness in their schools. Continuing the theme of kindness, back at Walker, students and teachers celebrated a wacky, tacky dress-up day to show that it’s wacky to be mean.

Walker School’s annual Bingo Night included some new faces — the school invited future Walker families to join in the fun.

Walker students visiting UVA athletes
Hanging out with the Hoos.

Walker students have been hanging out with U.Va. athletes lately, including tickets to the November 21  women’s basketball game, for which Walker students designed the team’s warm-up gear and participated in half-time activities.



Remember, following winter break (12/19-12/30), there is a teacher workday on Monday, January 2, 2017.  Students return to school on Tuesday, January 3.

The draft calendar for the 2017-18 school year has been posted online. The calendar is developed jointly by the Albemarle and Charlottesville schools, through the work of a committee that includes staff and parents. The School Board will vote on this calendar at its January meeting.

Communications logos: You can customize how you receive messages from us
Customize your settings in PowerSchool unless you want to receive early-morning calls about school closings.

New this year for winter closing notifications: This year, all families will receive emails and calls at all times (including early morning) unless families customize their settings via PowerSchool. Find instructions here.  If you have not yet set up your PowerSchool account, call 245-2943.

The division will be holding a number of events to gather feedback and input for our 2017-2023 Strategic Plan. A community-wide listening session will be held at CHS on Wednesday, January 25 at 7pm — come join us! Or if you wish to participate in a smaller, school-based session on another day, please contact your principal or write goodnews@charlottesvilleschools.org. Learn more or take a brief survey here.

Five of  our teachers were honored at the 2016 Chamber of Commerce dinner, serving as the guests of Bill Kehoe, recipient of the 2016 Chamber Paul Goodloe McIntire Citizenship Award. The outstanding teachers honored from Charlottesville City Schools were Michael Keller and Brendan Martin of Buford Middle School, Michel Ann Sizemore of Jackson Via Elementary, and Sarah Gallagher and Rachel Rasnake of Walker Upper Elementary.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave a shout-out to the schools’ partnership with City Schoolyard Garden and Local Food Hub, which supports innovating programs such as as our Harvest of the Month program, our extensive Farm-to-School Week offerings, and our year-round commitment to fresh, local foods and garden classrooms.  Thanks to both organizations for your support!

In November, the Special Education Advisory Committee hosted a community discussion about how to prepare your child for “Life After High School, Now.”

Multi-aged kids coding at Johnson for "hour of code"
Multi-aged coders at Johnson for “Hour of Code.”

Across the division, Charlottesville Schools participated in the international Hour of Code, a event designed to expose students to computer programming. Charlottesville Schools has extensive and growing support to help students learn to code.

At its fall conference, the Virginia Board of Education honored Charlottesville City Schools for receiving a 2016 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools District Sustainability Award.

Upcoming events include:

  • Multi-School (Walker, Buford, CHS) Band Concert, 12/14. Walker beginner band at Walker at 6:30pm; the other Walker, Buford, CHS bands will be at MLKPAC at 7:30pm
  • Engineering Expo at Buford (for current and future students & families), 12/15, 6pm
  • Winter Break and Teacher Workday, 12/19 through Monday, 1/2
  • Classes resume, Tuesday, 1/3
  • School Board Meeting, 1/5, 5pm, CHS Media Center
  • Community Budget Presentation, 1/10, 5:30pm, CHS Media Center
  • No School for Martin Luther King Day, 1/16
  • End of 2nd Quarter, 1/20
  • No School for Teacher Workday, 1/23
  • Stage Left Theater presents Beauty and the Beast, 1/24, 6:30pm, Walker Auditorium
  • Community Strategic Plan Listening Session (open to all), 1/25, 7pm, CHS
  • Buford offers Parent University, 1/26, 6pm

Remember that you can subscribe to our Google calendar of school holidays and as well as Google calendars for school-specific events. Instructions are at charlottesvilleschoools.org/calendar.


Walker Band Winter Concert Information

The Walker School bands will perform on Wednesday, December 14. The beginning bands will perform at Walker Auditorium at 6:30pm.  The intermediate and jazz bands will perform at the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center at nearby CHS at 7:30pm, sharing the stage with the Buford and CHS bands.  Details for parents follows.

Beginning Band Information from Ms. Allen

Hello, beginning band parents!

The band is excited to show you how far they have come in such a short amount of time. The 5th grade beginning band performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Walker Auditorium on December 14 -this is 15 minutes earlier than previously stated. (The 6th grade and jazz bands will now perform at 7:30 in the MLCPAC at CHS with bands from Buford and CHS.)

For the 6:30 concert:

  • Wear formal concert clothes: white shirt (button front) or blouse, black (preferred)  or dark blue pants, black (preferred) or dark brown shoes and black socks (please, no athletic shoes).
  • Report to band room, unpack, and be on stage in seats by the assigned time, which is 6pm for the Beginning Band and 5:40pm for the Above and Beyond Band. Again, this is a change so if you are unable to make the new times, please just do your best.

Afternoon Student Assembly, also on December 14:

  • Walker Auditorium, 2pm
  • Wear your casual uniform (band t-shirt and jeans or khakis).
  • Parents are welcome to attend.

After School Rehearsal on December 13:

  • The 5th grade band has one more after school rehearsal on Tuesday, December 13th. The rehearsal is directly after school and ends at 4:30.
  • There are activity buses available.

This band is mighty and we can’t wait to entertain you on Wednesday, December 14th beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Intermediate and Jazz Band Information from Mr. Dunnenberger


Our Evening Holiday Concert will be held on Wednesday, December 14th, 2016 at the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center at CHS.

  • The performance starts at 7:30 p.m.
  • Report to the MLKPAC auditorium stage by 6:55 p.m.
  • Wear formal concert clothes.
  • Bring your instrument in working condition and your concert music.

The concert will include the Walker Jazz Band, the Buford Middle School Concert Band and the Charlottesville High School Wind Ensemble. The concert will conclude around 8:30.
All students are expected to stay for the entire concert.

We will have a daytime performance for students at Walker School earlier that day at 2pm.

  • Wear casual concert clothes (Walker Band shirt & khaki pants or jeans).
  • Parents are welcome to attend this performance.

Please note: Intermediate Band rehearsals will resume after our holiday break on Wednesday, January 11th, 2017.

Dr. Polly Sibert

Two Charlottesville Schools Orchestra Directors Win Awards​

Dr. Polly SibertThe directors of the orchestras at Charlottesville High School and Walker Upper Elementary School received awards this weekend.

Dr. Polly Sibert of Walker Upper Elementary School received James Madison University’s Outstanding Music Educator Award, awarded annually to an alum who demonstrates excellence in musicianship and pedagogy. Dr. Sibert is teaching her 25th year at Walker School.

Laura Mulligan ThomasLaura Mulligan Thomas, who received the same JMU music educator award in 2013, received the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association’s Philip Fuller award in recognition of her longtime service, leadership, and accomplishments. Over the course of more than three decades, she has grown the CHS orchestra program from a group of 8 students to an award-winning group of 145. Their next international tour will be to Ireland in the summer of 2017.

“We are so proud of these two directors,” noted Aaron Eichorst, Coordinator of Fine Arts for Charlottesville City Schools. “Our students, parents, and staff already recognize the quality of our schools’ music education programs, but these awards show that music professionals across the state recognize the excellence of our faculty, as well.”

Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival

Buford/Walker: October 2016 Highlights

Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival
Face-painting at Buford Harvest Festival

Buford Middle School enjoyed another successful Harvest Festival, celebrating the school’s amazing garden and community. Thanks to City Schoolyard Garden for their leadership!

Young Women Leaders Program Food Drive
Young Women Leaders Program Food Drive

Buford students and their U.Va. mentors collected more than 2,000 pounds of food for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank through their involvement with the Young Women Leaders Program.

Buford engineering students recently made a presentation at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum to teach national leaders from education, technology, science, history, & math about the school’s innovative engineering partnership with U.Va, the Smithsonian, and other partners.

Learning by building
Learning by building

CHS and Buford students explored how businesses use technology in Charlottesville’s annual CBIC Tech Tour.

Buford history students have been doing some hands-on learning about life on the Great Plains, delivering wheat to the market and building a sod house.

Throughout the month of October, the National Junior Honor Society at Buford Middle School, an organization of 8th graders dedicated to community service, is holding a winter hat and glove drive to help the children of Charlottesville. Items may be dropped off in the school’s bins.

Congratulations to Buford students Sohl Park, Pray Meh, and Maya Wilmer, who placed 1-2-3 in the Rumi Forum’s Annual Peace and Dialog Art Contest.

Ready for fall foliage? Walker art students beat nature to the punch by creating beautiful leaf-inspired art.

Leaf artworks by Walker students
Details from works by Nyonnika, Isaac, and Hannah.
Jin Pickering Making Lemonade
Jin Pickering Making Lemonade

Sixth-grader Jin Pickering recently used a lemonade stand to raise money to feed the homeless through the Haven, tripling his goal!

The Walker Upper Elementary School Family extends an invitation to all current and future Walker students to attend Bingo Night on November 16 at 5:30pm.

Walker CLASS students played “Human Hungry Hippos” to end a great week!

CLASS students playing human hungry hippos
CLASS students playing human hungry hippos
Walker students testing soil samples
Walker students testing soil samples

Walker’s new swimming program for 5th-graders is off to a good start and was featured by NBC29.

As part of our new iSTEM program to build a bride to the engineering programs at Buford and CHS, Walker students recently measured their soil components for their green roof project.

Kori Ross demonstrates a generator during Sec. King's visit to Buford. Photo courtesy Daily Progress/Andrew Shurtleff

Buford/Walker Highlights for September 2016

Kori Ross demonstrates a generator during Sec. King's visit to Buford. Photo courtesy Daily Progress/Andrew Shurtleff
Kori Ross demonstrates a generator during Sec. King’s visit to Buford. Photo courtesy Daily Progress/Andrew Shurtleff

U.S. Secretary of Education John King visited Buford Middle School as one of the first stops on his Back-to-School Bus Tour, crossing the country to highlight school success stories. Past and current Buford engineering students led the visitors in engineering activities. The Buford engineering program has received international attention; it is a partnership with other area public schools, U.Va., PVCC, and the Smithsonian Institute.  Earlier in the summer, Buford staff and students presented at the International Society of Technology Education in Denver, and still other students and staff participated in a two-week engineering academy at U.Va. to continue developing the “invention kits” that are at the heart of the curriculum.

Student drawing in the garden on the second day of school.
Drawing in the garden on the second day of school.

The Buford Band greeted Sec. King with Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and earned a shout-out in the Washington Post. What other middle school band can handle a Sousa march three weeks into the school year?!

A before-school gathering of students and families participating in AVID  came to Buford to get the year off to a good start. AVID is a national program geared toward college readiness and closing the achievement gap.  AVID students also participated in Sec. King’s visit by writing thoughtful responses to the prompt, “Opportunity is….”

Walker friends at open house.
Walker friends at open house.

Eleven Buford and Walker students were accepted to Reflections, the Summer Regional Governor’s School Program for Middle School Students Gifted in the Visual Arts: Arianna Deiter, Belaynesh Downs-Reeve, Meg Gist, Eleanor Hilgart, Chu Keyer, Nora Liang, Anna Meyer, Emily Morris, Kyle O’Shea, Sohl Park, Yasu Shinozak, and Georgia Trainum. In addition, CHS 9th-grader Sahara Clemons was selected as one of two student assistants for the program.

Walker students are already celebrating the fine arts — on back-to-back days, sixth-graders attended the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival, and fifth-graders enjoyed performances by Rwandan dancers and musicians (see elementary news for more details).

Plenty of room for rockets in the Delta Lat at Walker
Plenty of room to learn with straw-powered rockets in the Delta Lab at Walker.

The new iSTEM program designed to build a bridge to the Buford engineering program “blasted off” with straw-powered rockets in Walker’s Delta Lab.  Through the activity, students explored force, distance, mean, and measurement.

Bingo cards for Walker's Mix-it-Up Lunch
Bingo cards for Walker’s Mix-it-Up Lunch.

Walker will host its second Mix-It-Up-at-Lunch event with the help of United Way volunteers on the Day of Caring. The program features events like get-to-know-you Bingo to help students meet new friends and acquaintances.

To reinforce some positive behavior routines, Walker hosted a Jeopardy! game featuring Alec Trebec (Mr. K) and Vanna White (Mrs. Geddy).  Students had a fun time answering questions related to Walker’s resources and behavioral expectations.

Student, parent, and teacher

Back-to-School Nights

FB-IMG_6666After a great start to the school year, attend a Back-to-School Night to check in with teachers and get a better sense of what’s coming up!

  • Burnley-Moran:  Thursday, September 15, 5:30pm
  • Clark: Tuesday, September 20, 5:30pm
  • Greenbrier: Tuesday, September 20, 6pm
  • Jackson-Via: Tuesday, September 20, 6pm  (PTO Meeting at 5:30pm)
  • Johnson: Tuesday, September 20, 6pm
  • Venable:  Thursday, September 15, 5:30pm
  • Walker: Tuesday, September 13, 6pm
  • Buford: Harvest Festival, Friday, September 23, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • CHS: Tuesday, September 27, 5:30-7:30pm
CHS Screenagers Poster

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age

CHS-Screenagers-PosterYou and your device-using child are invited to attend Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, an acclaimed documentary exploring the potential impact of students’ time on phones and other devices. The event is open to the whole community, including families from other schools or school divisions.

WHEN: Wednesday, 9/14 at 7pm
WHERE: Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center
TICKETS: $10 — purchase online
SPONSORED BY: Charlottesville High School PTO


Summer Reading at Charlottesville City Schools

Summer-ReadingReading never takes a vacation!  Make this important and fun activity a part of your summer.  Below is information about our summer reading programs.

Also, you and your family might enjoy meeting up with Books on Bikes, a group of Charlottesville City Schools teachers, librarians, staff, and even trained doggie pals as they make summertime deliveries of books and popsicles.

Summer Reading Information: